Cleaning your house can seem like a thankless chore. After all, no matter how hard you dust, mop, and scrub, it just gets dirty again. Unfortunately, living in a messy, cluttered home isn’t a viable alternative. A lot of us make do by getting a reliable cleaning service. These professionals visit your residence once or twice a week and clean from top to bottom.
Cleaning services are an undisguised blessing for anyone that is too busy or too bothered to do their own scrubbing. Plus, it creates employment, so you get brownie points for boosting the local economy. That said, selecting the right cleaner can be tricky. Most customers go with the first name they see online, or maybe they ask a friend, neighbour, or relative.
It may not seem like a big deal. After all, cleaning involves soap and water, so one company is as good as another. You might be worried about pricing, but beyond that, you’re not likely to give much thought to criteria. Still, if you find yourself with a shifty cleaning service, it may be time for a change. So … how can you tell if your cleaners are problematic?
When Do You Need to Change Your Cleaner
Your personal stuff goes missing
Home cleaning is a surprisingly intimate affair. You wouldn’t think so at first since all they’re doing is cleaning your floors and surfaces. But your cleaners will have access to your home, which is a very personal space. They will get into your bathrooms, your bedrooms, your closets, your cabinets, and all your personal spaces.
While you will probably be home during the cleaning sessions, it’s unlikely you will follow the cleaner throughout the house. It seems impractical, intrusive, and even a little rude to constantly hover a few inches behind them as they work. Unfortunately, this does mean your cleaner may have unsupervised access to your valuables …
It is essential that your cleaners must be a trusted person. A good cleaning company runs thorough background checks on all its employees to make sure they are, trusted, law abiding and skilled at their work. If things go missing and your cleaning company doesn’t take responsibility, it’s time to find someone else to wash up.
You experience communication problems
Home cleaning agencies have various relationships with their hands-on staff. Some agencies hire freelancers and temps while others have a permanent team of cleaners, even if they work on a rotating basis. If you happen to like how a particular professional worked, you might request the same cleaner for the next visit, and that’s where the trouble may begin.
If the company can’t give you the same person, it may mean they are popular and therefore overbooked. Or it might mean they were contracted and had no legitimate hiring agreement with your cleaning service. You’ll probably try to find out what’s what, but if you can’t reach anyone to give you a clear answer, you need to worry.
This scenario may mean that your cleaners are uninsured, or that they don’t receive employment benefits. This is unfair to the workers, but it also put you at risk, since you have no assurance of your cleaners’ credentials. You’re also at risk of liability if the cleaner gets hurt on your premises, especially if there’s a barrier in language.
You receive extraneous bills
When you first sign up for a cleaning service, there should be a clear billing system. You should know exactly what services you’re getting and how much they cost. The rates might be task-based or hourly. Either way, you know what you expect to pay.
So if you later receive a higher bill (or even a lower one), you should be worried. If your cleaning service hasn’t clearly stated why there’s a ‘discount’, they may surcharge you later. And if they have added costs that hadn’t been discussed in advance, it’s a bad sign. Either they’re not professional, or they have a bad accountant, and neither option looks good.
While it’s plausible that prices change from time to time, your service provider needs to give you notice in writing – and in advance. Sudden price hikes are unfair and unethical, so it may be time to move on to a new set of mops and soaps.
Your cleaner refuses to perform certain tasks
Cleaning services usually offer tiered packages. These packages are clearly laid out, and they express what is and isn’t involved. This way, you know exactly what you’re paying for, and if you have special needs, you can find out whether they can be covered at an extra fee.
Once you have agreed with the cleaning service, there should be no deviations. Granted there may be some genuinely overlooked areas. For example, you might find that your cleaner has a cat allergy and that you hadn’t mentioned kitty litter as part of the cleaning brief. This is a reasonable oversight and can be discussed civilly.
However, if you had clearly mentioned pets and the cleaner suddenly demurs, there might be a problem, especially if the administrative office is unwilling to mediate. Of course, you can avoid these pitfalls by getting verified testimonials from your cleaning service. But if you do find yourself stuck between a mop and a dirty bucket, shop around for a new cleaning crew.